New Rules for the City

Article excerpt

Byline: WENDY LEDGER

Updated discrimination laws will help to create a more diverse City workforce. Wendy Ledger reports

EMPLOYERS are familiar with the existing discrimination laws concerning gender, race and disability but, in the next few years, those laws will be updated to include discrimination against age, sexual orientation and religion.

Diversity in the workplace is a key issue.

According to a recent survey by Morgan McKinley, 75 per cent of City employees said they understood what the term diversity in the workplace means. The question is, do employers? After decades of legislation, some employees believe ethnicity and gender could be barriers to career development.

More than half of City employees do not feel that their management boards or executives are a diverse group. Research by David Chorley International reveals that 75 per cent of department heads within the banking sector are male. A report of FTSE 100 companies, commissioned by The Runnymede Trust, reveals that just one per cent of senior managers come from ethnic minorities.

"Most City recruiters are aware of the pitfalls of discrimination during the recruitment process but have little input once the employee is placed." says Andria Curran, communications manager with Contact Recruitment.

The requirement to build a workforce made up of people from all walks of life will apply to all employers. A diverse organisation is one that values and encourages differences.

Many employers clearly understand this and try to avoid direct discrimination, but it is more difficult to assess the occurrence of indirect discrimination.

The new legislation, which will come into effect over the next three to four years, will mean that all those who feel they have been discriminated against will have the right to legal redress. …